Is mystery shopping worth the time?

Last month I took one of my good friends out for dinner (tab: paid for by a mystery shopping assignment).

“I wish I could do that for a full time job,” he remarked.

I explained that it’s just not the kind of thing you can do fulltime: rather, it’s a great thing to do on the side. But is it worth the time put in?

Now, I don’t track every dollar, but I went back to try and nail down roughly how much I’ve made through surveys.

DECEMBER 169.22
NOVEMBER 339.83
OCTOBER 275.00
SEPTEMBER 150.00
SEPTEMBER 150.00
AUGUST 0.00
JULY 50.00
JUNE 50.00
MAY 150.00
APRIL 92.00
MARCH 118.50
FEBRUARY 80.00
JANUARY 197.00

TOTAL = 1671.55 (Seriously, it took me something like five goes to add that up and get the same answer twice. I fail.)

And as for how much I spent, I came up with a rough total of $468.50. At the most, I’d say a margin of error of $50.

What did that get me? Prescriptions, food, alcohol, petrol and beauty products :). The actual money earned mostly went to irregular expenses or savings.

I really couldn’t say how many hours a month on average I spend on surveys, but for over $1000 net for what is very much a spare-time gig, I think I’m definitely coming out ahead. This year, I want to keep a tight rein on this income – keeping a record of all purchases, and closely tracking payments and reimbursements every single month.

3 thoughts on “Is mystery shopping worth the time?

  • Reply The Asian Pear January 12, 2010 at 12:55

    It’s okay if you couldn’t add them the first couple of tries…. You’re a journalism major right? 😉 I’m a sociology major. Same thing happens to me too. XD (Actually, I might be worse because I once said, “No… 5+2 does not equal to 3+4. No. Wait. You’re right. It does…”)

    I always sign up for these surveys and things but they never call me back. 🙁 Although I’d love to them. All I’ve ever done is surveys to get points for store credit at best.

  • Reply eemusings January 12, 2010 at 16:30

    That’s super annoying. Most of the companies I work with release their assignments on the website and it’s a stampede to snatch the plum jobs. One only sends out jobs via email though, and I never used to get any until I started working FT and had my email open constantly!

  • Reply Carnivalistic fun « Musings of an Abstract Aucklander January 19, 2010 at 20:50

    […] 19, 2010 My post on whether mystery shopping is worth the time and effort was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance, Haiti edition at milliondollarjourney and […]

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